Thursday, September 15, 2011
Ed. by Sandra Ruttan and Brian Lindenmuth
Snubnose Press ebook, 2011
This collection of six stories, which the publisher calls an anthology, looks like a sampler than a full anthology. The authors presented in the book are probably not familiar to the reader of popular fiction, while you can’t call them newcomers. Nik Korpon, Richard Thomas and Jonathan Woods have published books, Nigel Bird has released two self-published collections of his stories in an electronic format, Matthew C. Funk widely published his stories in various magazines. Nevertheless, they did not become the authors of bestsellers. These writers are not alike at all, and you should pay close attention to some of them.
Stories by Nigel Bird and Jonathan Woods are complete opposites. «You Dirty Rat» by Bird is too simple. This is a story of revenge of soldier to his officer after the Second World War. Bird also writes in simple, abrupt sentences, designed to show anger and sense of purpose of the French soldier. Bird is capable of more; this story is not his most successful thing. «Crash & Burn» by Woods on the contrary has too complicated plot. The author in the final brings together several plot lines. But the story is told too quickly, causing the heroes seem flat, and you do not empathize them. Woods, it seemes, wrote complex mathematical equation, where the only interesting thing is the answer, but not the solution process.
The best stories here are Korpon’s and Thomas’. Stylistically, they are most interesting, despite the almost complete absence of plot. «Mori Obscura» by Nik Korpon tells the story of a journalist with a criminal past who is facing a difficult choice: break the law again or refuse tempting offer and stay law-abiding. Thoughts of the hero of the story, from whose view the story narrates, are confused, and we will not know what choice he makes.
If the story by Kopron only lasts about half an hour of real time, then «Herniated Roots» by Richard Thomas is stretched over a longer interval. Michael, alcoholic cut off from the world and has been for 6 years trying to stay sober, meets a woman in a supermarket. Alcohol almost ruined Michael’s life some time ago: «When he first quit drinking, he gained a lot of weight, needing to do something with his hands, to drink something else-water, iced tea, soda, juice. He was slightly overweight now, but you wouldn't know it from looking at him. He had nobody to tell him that his gut was an eyesore... No woman had seen him naked in a long time, and this was also part of his plan». Michael’s plan is at all costs remain sober. But meeting with a charming Sandy could start the journey to hell for him. Thomas paints in the dark colors the existence of a single man on the edge. How long Michael would be able stick to his plan, here's a question we get the answer to after reading.